Garry’s latest ‘Talking Point’ sermon looked at the subject of Islam. Headlines appear almost daily in the newspapers informing us of terrorist atrocities committed by radical Muslims, and it is undoubtedly true that violent jihad is a constant of Islamic history, the theology of which is given by some as a justification for terrorism. Many Muslims in the Middle East and Asia see Westerners as selfish, immoral and greedy, with America viewed as the ‘great Satan‘, and the radicalisation of British Muslims is of great concern to people at the moment. However, it would be naive to view terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda, ISIS and Boko Haram as representative of all Muslims; one website refutes the tactics of ISIS, saying ‘as British Muslims, we utterly condemn ISIS who are abusing the name of Islam with their acts of terrorism. We call on fellow British Muslims to unite and denounce this evil group and their acts.’
For many years, the only way for Christians to reach Muslims with the gospel was through ‘tentmaking’ ministries in Middle Eastern, North African and Asian countries, using mail, radio and personal contact as evangelistic means. Now, with many Muslims in this country, the opportunities for witness are enormous and the headlines which rarely feature in newspapers tell of massive numbers of Muslims converting to Christ all around the world. David Garrison, whose book ‘A Wind In The House of Islam’ recounts tales of revival in the Muslim world over the past two decades, writes of a time of spiritual breakthrough, with centuries of drought in terms of Muslim communities turning to Christ coming to an end. Many Muslims testify that ‘we didn’t have salvation in Islam… but we have found assurance of salvation in the person of Jesus Christ.’ (see here for further details.) There are also many testimonies of Muslims coming to faith in Christ through miraculous visions and dreams.
Christians may fear Islam, and certainly many Christians in Islamic countries suffer persecution for their faith, especially those who have converted from Islam. 1 Pet 2:22-23 reminds us that suffering for Christ’s sake is part of the gospel call and we are called to love even those we may perceive as enemies (see Luke 6:26-29). Ultimately, we must love Muslims, for God loves them; we cannot impose our views on them, but must propose a radically different worldview which reflects Christ’s spirit of love. The spiritual breakthrough seen by so many is the result of much prayer (see ‘Pray30Days‘, for example) and God calls us to pray and intercede for people (for more information about this, see organisations such as Arab World Ministries and Open Doors.)
Rev 12:10-12 reminds us that we overcome through the word of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb. This may seem to be a time of great instability, uncertainty and suffering, but the devil knows his time is short and, in the words of Bill Brown, ‘the beautiful truth is that the history of the faith is filled with those who once spoke violently against Christ and then, overwhelmed by grace, embraced Him as Savior.’ (quoted in an article here.) We need not fear, but should be motivated to pray that Muslims embrace Christ as Saviour, for He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6)